‘Poor nations should fight the rich for ruining environment’


Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, expressed  his resentment over the non-serious attitude and response of the rich polluting countries in tackling global warming and extending financial and technical support to the poor countries to boost their climate-resilience against unavoidable climate change.

Addressing the national Consultative workshop on environment, climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, ozone depletion, urged the developing countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and other Asia-Pacific countries to stand united against hypotactic attitude of the rich polluter countries and force these environmental culprits to pay for the global environmental damages and global warming, which is afflicting the economies, people and biodiversity so dangerously.

The sad truth is that the poorest countries including Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh on the planet will be hit first and hardest by ‘now unavoidable’ climate change, he warned and said, “During the last decade it is poor counties like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Philippine, Honduras, Myanmar and Thailand that have been most battered by the climate change disasters including floods, storm and cyclones.

The event was organised on Wednesday by the Ministry of Climate Change and Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues.

“It is matter of grave concern for developing countries like Pakistan that they have been left on their own mercy for coping with climate change-induced disasters, particularly floods, cyclones, hurricanes, sea-level rise, landsliding, and river erosion. Whereas, the rich countries continue to increase pace of global warming by increasing their carbon emissions,” he exploded in an angry tone during his address.

Mushahidullah Khan said that rich countries have achieved economic growths at the cost of the environment and for this purposes exploited natural resources, particularly water, forests, land in unsustainable and cruel manner.

“Though these rich countries are now raising slogans of sustainable development and green development and pushing the poor countries to cut their carbon emissions, protecting environment, planting more trees, shift towards clean and renewable energy from fossil fuel burning for energy purposes. But it is sordid to note that they themselves are non-serious in pursuing the sustainable development agenda and are just like hypocrites in their response to helping poor countries to deal with negative impacts of climate change,” he highlighted.

The minister argued that if developed (rich) countries were serious about reducing carbon emissions to slow down the pace climate change then they would not see loss and damage compensation being demanded by the developing countries like Pakistan, Nepal, India and Bangladesh as a major concern.

“At the very least this says something about the pessimism which surrounds the global carbon emission mitigation effort at the end of rich countries,” he suspects.

Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that a loss and damage mechanism could be built in a way that it assuages wealthy polluting nations’ fears of creeping compensation claims. This could allow some measure of success to emerge to reduce climate change-causing carbon emissions and boost climate change adaptation in poor countries.

He, however, said GEF and officials of the climate change minister deserves appreciation that are provinces are being consulted on tackling climate change issues in Pakistan and urged the provincial governments to show political will and come forward in dealing with common these issues for the sustainable survival of people, economic growth and conservation and protection of natural resources as well as biodiversity.

Secretary Climate Change Ministry, Arif Ahmed Khan, told the participants from all over country that his ministry will stand united with the provincial governments in extending all-out support in increasing their capacity-building for fighting common climate change vulnerability issues, particularly against floods which cost billions of rupees in damages to public infrastructure and people’s livelihood.

“Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change threats and these cannot be tackled single-handedly by the federal government,” he cautioned and urged the provincial governments to join hands with the federal government in fight against climate change.

The Secretary also spoke on the aims and objectives of the event and said that the national consultative event aims to enable the country to conduct a broad consultation process including government ministers and other key stakeholders such as civil society, community-based organizations and private sector for addressing commission environemntl issues, particularly regarding climate change, international waters, ozone depletion, land degradation  persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and biodiversity.

The event was attended by senior representatives of all provincial governments, international and national non-governmental organisations, National Focal Person of GEF joint secretary at Miistry of Climate Change Aftab Ahmad Maneka, Inspector General of Forests at Miistry of Climate Change, Syed Mahmood Nasir, Director-General (Env & Climate Change) Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, Deputy Secretary (Environment Policy) at Ministry of Climate Change Rehmand Hamid and Ahsanullah of the GEF Cell.

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